Christchurch Town Hall Rebuild
The Christchurch Town Hall, designed by Sir Miles Warren and Maurice Mahoney, is a significant part of the urban fabric and vitality of Christchurch that has served as a gathering place for performances, cultural events and meetings since 1972.
The iconic building was in the midst of a refurbishment project when the Christchurch earthquakes struck in 2010 and 2011. The refurbishment work was to include additional food and beverage facilities, an upgrade of bars and public toilets, refinement of acoustics to the James Hay theatre, and fire and special services upgrades. The exterior of the building was to be refurbished along with new landscaping and paving to enhance the building's setting.
As a result of the earthquakes, and due to the land damage beneath, the Town Hall required the strengthening of foundations and damage repair to the original design. The restoration has brought the Town Hall up to 100 percent of New Building Standards and includes construction of a purpose-built facility for the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra (CSO), giving it a permanent home in the complex for the first time.
The original character and style of the building with its white marble, dark timber, rich red fabrics and vibrant artworks, has been preserved as part of the restoration. The mural Rainbow Pieces by New Zealand artist Pat Hanly, has been restored and rehung in the upstairs foyer. It is made up of 50 panels and was commissioned for the Town Hall by Miles Warren in 1971.
The Christchurch Town Hall is both necessary and desirable to ensure one of Christchurch’s iconic buildings is modernised and aligned with current compliance and building codes. The upgrade enhances the complex overall, adding functional value for both patrons and staff who manage the complex.
The Town Hall reopened in stages, with the main auditorium, foyer and function rooms in February 2019, followed by the James Hay Theatre in April and facilities for the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra in August.